Immigration hits harder – I warned you

Immigration hits harder

Immigration hits harder, I warned you twice last year in July 2019 and August 2019. And I got some nasty comments here and in the social media. Read the comments of the above linked blog articles. The Bureau of Immigration is really getting stricter.

Another sad Story happened in Mactan-Cebu – Immigration hits harder

From Facebook. No errors corrected. Just as it had been written:


Came back from visa run, today. immigration guy asks how many days will you stay? I said til may like my ticket back to Taipei says. He tells me i am illegally using extensions for permanent residency, and that grounds for entry refused. I told him I was married and have a son here and plan to get 13a. He tells me having family here doesn’t guarantee entry. I cant really, because only the latter is true. After 5 mins of him looking at my 5 yrs of stamps he takes me to a lady at desk, they want to see marriage cert. I say wife cant find. They call air asia in. They are ready to send me back to Taipei. The lady tells me they will accept my sons nsa birth cert. After 2 hrs they accepted my sons crba that shows my name as father and him born in naga, cebu. Good luck on your next visa run if your not married or have child. And if you have child take his birth cert or copy of. I seriously thought I was screwed.

And now the reactions

I have anonymized the reactions. I copy them without any correction or modification

  • If your passport is full of visa stamps
    Well, it’s a good thing they’re no longer issuing stamps any longer. I just picked up my passport and they told me stickers are done and over with.
  • Can I see how the expat look like?
  • 5 years of visa runs I understand their feelings..
  • And five years of paying for extensions, yea poor BI, cry me a river. 
  • It is true on what you are doing, you are using the Tourist visa and keep extending it (but legal to do under Philippines law) Might want to look at other options on visa’s
  • Look at other country’s filipines sucks shit hole
  • If you think of the Philippines like that: Why are you on this Page? just remove yourself from it and stay away from here if it is so bad in your opinion
  • Not well liked here …. Rather chinese pogo workers … Glad my days here are numbered …. Back to Hawaii in June with my wife and kid ….. Things are changing here
  • Can’t you stay here for more than 2 years just by extending your visit “visa” why need to keep doing visa runs ?
  • I’m sure this is why BI revenue is up 29% in 2019 from 2018… it may have been a foreigner friendly country at one time but times change. Now it’s blatant give us your money honey with a big smile followed by now go home.
  • Time to get a new and clean passport I think.
  • ha ha. They have a computer my friend that tells them they don’t need your passport stamps.
  • A bit disconcerting to say the least ..

And it goes on …

  • So Philippines not open to retirees ?
  • it is yes. Just need the correct visa
  • yes last october i did visa run when i came back they asked how long i planned to stay but i do have a one year baby girl i told them they let me right in but it did worry me, and id get married but because iam divorced i was told theres no divorce in philippines id have to file to the courts like an annulment
  • In 8 years of living here and going home to Australia about 3 times a year and only staying in Australia fir a few weeks at a time , I got questioned about my intentions here coming through customs just before Christmas fir the first time and she asked also how long I will be here for , I never had that before
  • I better warn some guys I know doing that. On a similar note the visa situation is a lot tougher here in Bali, but even they are stopping the visa runs for people on tourist visas
  • Why a visa run and not just extend?
  • 3 years of extensions fir tourist visa then you have to leave the country, simple

A good question and a bad answer and better answers!

  • “Illegally using extensions for permanent residency” What exactly does that mean?
  • The man at immigrations was a ahole
  • Get a copy of marriage certificate. It’s needed so often it’s crazy. I don’t do the stamps anymore cuz we reenter the country together. Bilikbian (sp). But we leave before the year is up.
    That marriage certificate, huge to haul around, is critical. But makes all the difference.
  • Sounds like you’re on a tourist visa..
  • I think issues with many years are only going to increase, might be a good time to looking in to getting either an SRRV or 13 quota visa
  • It is beginning to look like, as a tourist you will be allowed to extend up to 3 years, during which time, you should apply for permanent residency if you wish to stay longer. Which was probably the intention of the law as written.
  • Does anyone know how many Quota visas are allowed each year . I am guessing that the agents funnel into the majority and on sell them .

If you think to live here …

If you think to live here, then you have the choice of 3 permanent visas.


The SRRV (Special Resident Retiree’s Visa) is the visa that gives you freedom but it has its price. First you need to deposit some money on a bank account at a PRA-recognized bank. Then you have to pay the processing fee and finally you have to pay your annual fee. Please check the different SRRV on the PRA website.
The benefits of the SRRV are very good:

  • You depend of nobody
  • You stay as long as you want
  • You leave and enter the Philippines as many times you want
  • You don’t need to file an annual report
  • You don’t need to pay the TIEZA travel tax, if you haven’t stayed longer than a year
  • Some shops and some companies accept the SRRV-ID card like a senior citizen’s card

The 13 Quota Visa

The BI writes: Nationals of countries which have diplomatic relations with the Philippines and grant the Filipinos the same immigration privileges under the principle of reciprocity which shall not be in excess of fifty (50) of any one nationality or without nationality for any one calendar year.

This visa is very hard to get. Only 50 nationals of any country are accepted. Also the application process is a hard nut. Read the full description on the BI website.


The 13a Visa by Marriage and the Balikbayan Privilege

If Amor did hit you, then you have the choice between the Balikbayan Privilege and the 13a Visa by Marriage.

The Balibayan stamp is valid for one year only. You get this stamp when you enter the country together with your spouse. You need to show your marriage certificate. Also you need to leave the county once a year.

The BI gives you the 13a visa on request. It is usually an upgrade from the 9a Tourist Visa.

If your spouse is younger (much younger – haha) than you. there will be allmost no problem. But if your spouse dies before you, then you loose the 13a visa.

And a last hint

Before deciding, calculate the costs of your visa. The SRRV seems to be expensive. But when you compare with the 13a Marriage visa, it can become very cheap 😉 . And do not forget that you can get your SRRV deposit back, when you invest in the Philippines. A typical investment is a house or a condo. Also when you decide to leave the Philippines, you get back your money from your SRRV depot.

Have a good stay!


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2 Responses

  1. Kevin Camara says:

    I enjoyed your post and options. My wife and I are planning to semi-retire soon. We have bought a lot and plan to build. We plan to only live in the Philippines for 3 months each year in the winter. Yes, we will be snow birding. Can I use a Balibayan stamp once per year for 3 months?

    • waebi says:

      Hi Kevin,
      Thank you for your comment.
      There are many snow-birds here.
      If you arrive with your wife and have your marriage certificate (or a copy) with you, then you receive the Balikbayan stamp.
      This stamp is valid 1 year. But this doesn’t mean that you have to stay one full year.

      Cheers, waebi

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